25 Book Reviews

Friday, June 26, 2015

The Dream of a Single Woman : An Unexpected Love!!

                                                 "together with you"
      By  Victoria Bylin


Every parent's nightmare- a Lost Child Warning blares over the mall's PA system!! Carly Mason, an employee at one of the stores, discovers the little playing with a stuffed rabbit. Carly notices that there is something different about this little girl, Penny. As a former social worker, she recognizes that the child suffers from fetal alcohol effects and Carly's past confronts her. She has made the promise to herself to never again become personally involved with a needy child. Too many risks!! But Penny's obvious needs , as well as her very handsome dad, tug at Carly's heartstrings. 

Dr. Ryan Tremaine is struggling to regain a normal lifestyle. His  ex wife has remarried, on a trip, his two teen sons and Penny are living under his roof for the present time. Ryan has made a commitment to reconnect with his children. His first challenge is to hire Carly to be Penny's nanny! Will she let her heart tell her what to do??

Ryan never dreamed that he would be so attracted to Carly, a feeling that both he and the young woman are fighting. Can Carly keep his family intact and have a true loving relationship??? OR will a romance only complicate things more????

My Thoughts:

This book appealed to me from the moment I read the synopsis on the back cover and looked at the beautiful cover. As a woman, mother, and teacher, I easily was able to identify with Carly. The characters were well described and so realistic. I became one with Carly and felt her every emotion. The needs , challenges, hurts and battles became my own!! I just wanted to give her a big hug and encourage her to keep trying!!!  Ryan, another main character was one that I wanted to shake at times, to wake him up to all that he had and how lucky he was. However, I also understood his problems and the battles that he had to fight within.  He was a man to be admired for his will to fight for his family.

The plot was fast moving and heartwarming. There were twists and turns that kept the reader captivated throughout the story. It is a true romance, but also an informative book. The author deals with the difficult subject of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, in a kind , delicate manner. In my career in teaching, I encountered such children. As much as I loved them, they are a challenge and make life very complicated for a family. Victoria described the symptoms of FASD in an educational as well as emotional way. VERY REALISTIC and true to the birth defect.

A great read !! Definitely a five star book!!

This book was supplied by Bethany House and Graff Martin Communications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Now available from your local bookseller.


Monday, June 22, 2015

For Those Who Love Mystery and Suspense!

"desperate measures"
  By Sandra Orchard


Researcher Kate Adams has finally pinpointed the medicinal plant responsible for tearing her family apart. She's certain that discovering its secrets is her only hope of solving the mystery surrounding the disappearance of her father. Kate will risk anything to find the truth--even her budding relationship with Detective Tom Parker. But more people than she can fathom are after the plants and going it alone just might prove to be a fatal mistake.

Award-winning author Sandra Orchard pulls out all the stops in this breakneck and breathtaking conclusion to the Port Aster series. Fans will not be disappointed by the surprises they find inside.

My Thoughts:

This a romantic suspense that immediately grabs you and pulls you into the story. The elements of drama are strong and carry you away into a strange mystery with the hectic actions.  I had a bit of a problem getting the plot and characters figured out. Sandra Orchard is a new author to me and I had not previously read the first two books in her series, "Port Aster Secrets". I think it would have beneficial to have become more familiar with the characters. It took me a while to figure out who everyone was. It seemed as if the villain appeared very suddenly.

The characters were well developed and realistic. Kate, the main character, was on a quest to reunite with her father who had been missing for twenty years. Her desire to protect the secret, powerful plant by the name of amendoso from Columbia was evident from the beginning of this novel. A detective, Tom Parker, appears on the scene, searching for a missing young man who may or may not be involved  in the mystery of the unusual and perhaps dangerous plant.  You perceive immediately that he is very much in love with Kate. Why was this teen missing? Did he see something that he shouldn't have? Is he really involved with the mystery or is he a simple runaway?? You become immersed in this very different mysterious romance. The characters all become your friends and their enemies become your's .

Thre plot moves quickly , sometimes a bit too quickly for the reader to figure out the new twists and turns. I found myself rereading to make sure that I kept my thoughts straight on the new events occuring. This book is definitely a thriller but does not include the gory details of others. There is suspense on every page, involving attempted murders , kidnapping, as well as espionage. The surprise ending was just that!! A SURPRISE! Not at all what I expected!

There was a strong element of faith throughout the story., involving being able to trust and have faith in others as well as in the Lord. Kate must learn to put her trust in Him, not in the people around her . This theme was clearly evident throughout the book.

Definitely a good read!!

This book was supplied by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing House, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Another Magnificent Masterpiece By Beth Wiseman!! A Fabulous Amish Novel!

"Her Brother's Keeper"
    By Beth Wiseman


Charlotte came to Amish country to find answers. What she never expected to find was peace.
Charlotte Dolinsky is not above playing dress-up and telling a few lies to find out what happened to her only brother. In fact, that is exactly what she’s come to Lancaster County to do. Now, calling herself Mary and slipping on a kapp, Charlotte will lie her way into the confidence of anyone who knows why Ethan had to die. Unless she gets found out first.
But when Charlotte befriends a quiet Amish man named Isaac Miller, she begins to rethink her motives. And with a little help from a friend back home, Charlotte might find out that love comes packaged in ways she couldn’t have foreseen.
Isaac’s been caring for his cancer-stricken father and sympathizing with his frustrated mother for three difficult years. And that means he hasn’t been dating. He believes Hannah King is the woman for him, but Hannah is still grieving the loss of her fiancé, and Isaac has all he can handle on the farm. When Hannah’s family plays host to a woman named Mary, their new cousin shakes things up for all of them.
As Charlotte digs deeper into the mystery of Ethan’s death, she finds more than she’d bargained for in the community he once called home. But will she ever learn the truth? And what will the community—and her new family—do if they learn the truth about her?

My Thoughts:

This book was certainly NO surprise to me!! EVERY one of Beth's novels have been fabulous and this one is no exception!! The story is written with Beth's unique and talented voice. She claims that the characters talk to her in her head as she is writing a book!! There must have been some headaches and a lot of rebelling and knocking around while this creation was being written!! An Englischer lying about her faith??? The guilt that the main character, Charlotte, felt, made her easy with whom to identify. Have we not ALL felt guilty when telling something that wasn't exactly true?? Charlotte is so brave and gutsy yet kind and tenderhearted, all at the same time. The King family was described so realistically that you felt that you were living in their home, feeling ever so safe, but confused , angry . The Amish faith was exactly as it should be! Should they be angry when they discover the truth?? Of course, they are human with the same weaknesses as you and I! Can they forgive?? That is a very difficult thing in this particular situation, however, the path to forgiveness is one that any Christian has to deal with. It takes time. The Amish have struggles similar to our's. Beth's ability to deal with sensitive situations is present in this book as well as all of her other novels. Beth speaks from the heart and you feel this deeply as you read. 

The plot advances quickly and is chock full of twists, turns and surprises. You have a romance, a mystery and learn a lesson in life as you advance through the pages. I became so engrossed in the plot that the world passed me by as I became part of  this Amish community. I do believe my husband wondered if I would ever cook his dinners again!! My only big disappointment was that the story ended far to soon!! I wanted to read forever!! That is the reason that I am eagerly awaiting the next book in this series. 

This novel is truly a magnificent masterpiece!! I know, I have said that every book is Beth's best!! BUT this one is equal to all of her others and  (whispering), maybe even the best yet!!

A Five Star Book!! Don't miss it!!

This ebook was provided by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review!!

Link To purchase this book: http://amzn.to/1LwQc6U

Friday, June 19, 2015

Read a Great Book With a Texas Fairy Tale Ending!!

          "A Love Like Our's"

              By Becky Wade

Former Marine Jake Porter has far deeper scars than the one that marks his face. He struggles with symptoms of PTSD, lives a solitary life, and avoids relationships.

When Lyndie James, Jake's childhood best friend, lands back in Holley, Texas, Jake cautiously hires her to exercise his Thoroughbreds. Lyndie is tender-hearted, fiercely determined, and afraid of nothing, just like she was as a child. Jake pairs her with Silver Leaf, a horse full of promise but lacking in results, hoping she can solve the mystery of the stallion's reluctance to run.

Though Jake and Lyndie have grown into very different adults, the bond that existed during their childhood still ties them together. Against Jake's will, Lyndie's sparkling, optimistic personality begins to tear down the walls he's built around his heart. A glimmer of the hope he'd thought he'd lost returns, but fears and regrets still plague him. Will Jake ever be able to love Lyndie like she deserves, or is his heart too shattered to mend?

My Thoughts:

This novel is one that I enjoyed from the first page to the last. Becky Wade has shown us once again that she is a creative author who can turn a romance into a complicated  and yes, a very different situation, with a fairy tale ending. To get to this happy ending , there are unexpected twists and turns of the plot from chapter to chapter. The plot is well developed and moves quickly. Just when events start to become expected, a new complication arises, holding the reader's attention. 

The characters are well developed and realistic. They are easy to identify with, which makes the novel a great read.  The main characters are endearing, with their problems and uniqueness. Lindie has a sister who has a disability. I loved Lindie's support and love for her exhibited in so many ways. Jake suffers emotionally from his past experiences. You feel his pain and confusion as he attempts to overcome his fears. The impact of PTSD is a very real situation and Jake tugs at your heartstrings as he struggles to win over this disability. 

This is the third book in the Porter Family Series. It is certainly equally as good as the other two. I highly recommend it to all readers. A very different read for a romance!

Definitely a five star book!

This book was supplied by Bethany House and Graff Martin Communications in exchange for a fair and honest review. Now available from your local bookseller.

Monday, June 15, 2015

The Effects of a Blast From The Past!

"Once Upon a Summertime"
      By Melody Carlson


Managing the Value Lodge in her hometown was not what Anna Gordon had in mind when she set out in the hospitality industry. But it's a safe choice for a woman whose childhood was anything but stable. Out of the blue, she gets a once-in-a-lifetime chance to reinvent herself by moving to New York City, where she hopes for a management position at a stylish new boutique hotel. The big city is full of surprises--not the least of which is Sean O'Neil. Her childhood crush has applied for the very same position!

Sweet, romantic, and endlessly entertaining, this romp through the storied streets of New York City will enchant readers. Melody Carlson has created characters so charming that readers will long to meet them in the lobby of the stunning Rothsberg Hotel.

My Thoughts:

If you love "happily ever after" endings, you will love this book!! Melody Carlson successfully writes heartwarming novels that appeal to the romantic side of us. 
The characters are well described, with whom you easily identify. They are normal, everyday people who experience the good, bad and yes, even sometimes the ugly.You become totally involved with  Anna, the main character. whose journey in the summer becomes one of unexpected love. Her career change becomes one of adventure and learning. Deep emotions are felt by the reader, as Anna contends with unexpected challenges/

The plot is well developed, however, a deeper sense of conflict would have kept the reader more involved. This book is a good one, as I do love all of Melody's creations, but it is a light read. If you need a book to take to the beach, this is the perfect one!! I , myself, prefer more twists and turns in a plot. This story line was very predictable and did not have the depth that I usually expect from this author.

I would consider this novel to be a three star. It was entertaining , I enjoyed it, but if you are looking for a "page turner", this is not the one for you. This is a light, cheerful, happily ever after read.

This book was provided by Revell, in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Great Cozy Mystery for Summer Reading!

     Freshly Baked

  By Vannetta Chapman

"Don't taste it! Don't share it! Just throw it away
If you try my bakery pie! You won't live to see another day!!

This is one of the many frightening messages found in The Amish Artisan Village of Middlebury, Indiana. This is the very LAST place  in which you would think of finding such a message. After all, are not the Amish people known for their peaceful lives and resistance to violence???  Amber , the manager of this village, was very startled and very afraid!! Could the delicious goods sold at the bakery, on site, possibly become lethal???   Why would anyone leave a trail of poetry leading to a sweet toothed killer? Amber , after stumbling upon this mystery , decides that NOTHING is going to stop her from finding the suspicious would be murderer. 

When poetic notes that give warnings about poisoning being present in pies being sold, begin to appear around the bakery, Amber is not only confused but VERY concerned. Who on earth would poison a pie and why??? Who would be dumb enough to leave notes after they had done such a cruel thing? Amber and the police work together, enlisting the help of Hannah Troyer to tone up their detective skills. 

Will Amber and Hannah be successful in helping the police before the Poison Poet actually hurts or murders someone? Both women have to draw on their strong faith to preserve this peaceful community. 

This book is the third and last in Vannetta Chapman's "An Amish Village Mystery " series. She has successfully ended this set of books with a bang!! Although it can be read as a stand alone, I found that having read the two previous mysteries was an advantage to me. I was once again, revisiting my old friends at the Artisan Village. In this small setting, the English work alongside the Amish with harmony and grace. Respect for all is evident, as well as the strong bond of friendship and faith. It is truly a peaceful environment, one which I sure wouldn't mind visiting!  

Vannetta presents her characters in a realistic, interesting way, each having their own little quirks that makes them unique. You immediately become immersed in their daily lives, sometimes wanting to hug them to make things better , other times wanting to shake them to knock some sense into their heads. 

The plot moves quickly , involving many twists and turns. There are actually two mysteries that need to be solved. Are they connected?? Only the reader will find out!! Not only is someone leaving the notes concerning poison but there is also a shocking murder. This one is not just an idle threat!! 

This is a book that keeps one engrossed from beginning to end. The real world passes one by as one becomes part of a very mind boggling situation.  No lack of action, suspense in this novel. AND Yes, there is even humor!! 

This author has done it all, to make this the best of her cozy mysteries yet!! I highly recommend this book to all readers. A fantastic book to read in the backyard, the park and the beach, and yes, I even read some in the car!

I am eagerly awaiting the next series by Vannetta Chapman. I have no doubt that it will be another winner!!!

This book was provided by the author and Zondervan , in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Friday, June 5, 2015

An Amish Retelling of Jane Austen's Persuasion

"Second Chances"
  By Sarah Price

Another winning novel by Sarah Price!! It happens to be the best of the best!! I must apologize as I am not in the best of health at the moment, that I intended to write a complete review, however, find myself at a loss. I have no energy to do so.

BUT I cannnot let this great book go by without some fanfare.
I did write an endorsement for Sarah that appears in the front of the book, which follows:

Sarah Price has once again written a book with a meaningful message. The theme of forgiveness and the ability to overcome, with God's direction, is evident throughout the intricate plot. Again, Sarah has used her unique talent to develop characters that are realistic and somewhat quirky individuals who appeal to the reader's emotions and sense of humor. Indeed, they become part of you. As you get lost in the plot, everyday life will be forgotten, and you will find yourself transported to this small Amish community. "Second Chances" is yet another Sarah Price book that will live on in your thoughts long after you finish reading!

This book was supplied in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Another Fantastic Read by One of My Favorite Authors, Vannetta Chapman!

An Amish Proposal for Christmas  By Vannetta Chapman Synopsis: Her deepest Christmas wish will bring more than she imagined…in this novel by...